My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Alternative Energy and the Recent Oil Discovery in Jamaica - The Merchant of Venice

Monday, September 6, 2010

Alternative Energy and the Recent Oil Discovery in Jamaica - The Merchant of Venice

The Almighty Dollar, that great object of universal devotion

Washington Irving, Wolfert’s Roost

The day August 31st 2010 AD is a day that will live in infamy of many in Jamaica who still read newspapers. Not only is it the Independence Day of the People’s Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, it is also the day that possibly the biggest announcement was quietly made in both Print and Broadcast media: Jamaica is on the verge of discovering Oil.

The article reference, entitled “Jamaica may have 3 billion barrels of Oil”, published Wednesday, September 01, 2010, The Jamaica Observer, was reported, most aptly on September 1st 2010, the Day of Apple CEO Steve Jobs announcements of the Apple Product Refreshes.

Specifically I refer to the Apple iPod Nano, Apple iPod Shuffle, Apple iPod Touch and Apple iTV, with the makeover of the Apple iTV into a Slingbox-esque IPTV device being a small revolution in pricing as well as technology as stated in the article “New Apple TV: $99, Netflix streaming, 99-cent TV rentals”, published September 1, 2010 11:43 AM PDT by Matthew Moskovciak, CNET News – Crave.

This as well as in the article “For 99 cents, Amazon sells shows, Apple rents them”, published September 1, 2010 2:31 PM PDT by Ina Fried, CNET News - Beyond Binary.

For you see, ironically, it is newspapers and blogs that possess information that is carefully sifted by the reporter and contains a wealth of stories that would take the avid Newspaper or blog reader a day to read, as opposed to the slapdash reporting of the Broadcasters, both Television and Radio.

Guess John Public need to start befriending those Trinidad and Tobago Geology and Geography students in the Department of Geology at the University of The West Indies.

I, John Public, can honestly say that I am beside myself with excitement, as the prospects of this discovery by Sagres Energy, the parent of Canadian firm Rainville Energy that had drilling rights in Jamaica since Thursday June 15th 2006 AD, announced Friday August 27th 2010 AD and reported in detail on Wednesday September 1st 2010 in the Jamaica Observer are staggering.

Canadians again, to the rescue of the hapless Jamaicans. It is becoming apparent that the Americans are of little help to Jamaica, being unable to help themselves, their country experiencing the worst Recession since the Oil Crisis in 1976.

Which ironically, was exacerbated by their insatiable greed and punch-drunk love for Black Gold, after their country had experienced Peak Oil and resulted in a dependence on imported Oil and thus the ensuing Oil Crisis!

Canada has weathered the recession and came out ok, which is not surprising, as they have a more rigid, more robust Economy based mostly on Real Estate as stated in the article “Vancouver's Real Estate Bubble Trouble”, published June 24, 2010, 5:00PM EST, by Bryant Urstadt, BusinessWeek - FEATURES with little connection or direct investment in the American Economy, their only problem being a severe shortage of skilled workers, due to its extremely cold weather.

Canada is a magnet for many a Jamaicans despite is harsh winters, its Economic Climate is a Tropical Paradise compared to Jamaica’s frozen frigid wasteland of an Economy being sucked dry by FDI (Foreign Direct Investors), who own virtually everything. Thus it is rather fitting that again, of all the companies to make this discovery, it was a Canadian firm.

The location of this find is best explained in Sagres’ own quote, which this Jamaica Observer article does an excellent job of doing: “Results of an independent evaluation of the resource potential of certain prospectus identified in Sagres' blocks 9, 13 and 14 in the shallow-waters (20 metres) of the Pedro Bank 120 km offshore Jamaica show(s) a gross mean prospective resource
estimate (Oil) of three billion barrels”.

Pedro Banks is where this potential find of nearly three billion (3,000,000,000) barrels of untapped oils was discovered using seismic sound techniques involving radio wave pulses pumped into the ocean floor from a submersible trawled below the surface or set to rest on the oceans floor for more detailed soundings.

The composition of the returned resonance 30 Watt radio waves i.e. absorbed by the rock strata and re-transmitted, being analyzed by computer equipment helping to identify the possible composition of not only the rock strata and the presence of hydrocarbon deposits, based on details of the soundings, but also the extent and size of this discovery.

That Sagres should make mention of this discovery of all, couple with such a large estimate, makes this find truly significant and noteworthy and thus explains the follow-up articles by the Oil Prospecting company, which now point the way ahead, as Sagres has until March 2011, based on their contract, to begin drilling a test well or lose their rights to their discovery and be unable to recoup their investment.

Sagres, by their own admission, is currently not financial capable of drilling a test well, which according to the article can be up to US$40 million dollars to capitalize, and thus must find a suitable equity partner to do so, a most likely prospect, based on the comments of president and chief geologist, David Johnson, who was quoted as saying: “This evaluation provides a better understanding of the tremendous resource potential that lays in Jamaica.

With the combination of nine of 11 historical Jamaican wells with Oil shows, three mature sources, two potential reservoirs, and large structures, we believe that it is only a matter of time before a large untapped commercial resource is discovered in Jamaica.

Furthermore, Jamaica is ready to commercialize its resource potential with refining capacity of 45,000 barrels of Oil per day, electricity generators that accept gas, Oil, or Bio-Diesel fuels, an established bauxite industry, and a geographic position central to the major global marine trade routes”. Folks, we always had Oil, based on previous evidence; it was just a matter of knowing where to look.

With that kind of history easily found in the Department of Geology at the University of The West Indies as well as residing with Special projects manager of the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ), Dr. Raymond Wright, this find was guaranteed.

Plus, now has never been a better time to get to know one of those cute young nymphs from the People’s Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, as with this find, they will be definitely be making a beeline to our country and thus be less likely to leave our shores, already being infected with our infectious Dancehall Music, their airwaves overloaded with our music.

Dr. Raymond Wright, in an interview on Wednesday September 1st 2010 AD with the JIS (Jamaica Information Service), had expressed confidence that Sagres will secure the assistance of this equity partner before March 2011 AD as published in the article “Sagres yet to commit to Jamaica Oil drilling”, published Friday, September 03, 2010, The Jamaica Observer and the article “Wright affirms Oil potential”, published Friday September 3rd 2010 by The Jamaica Information Service, The Jamaica Gleaner.

With the Government of Jamaica or the PCJ not having to commit funding to this venture and all the capital expenditure being borne by Sagres Energy and its potential equity partner, Jamaica stands to make significant tax revenues from the sale of Oil in arrangements similar to that of bauxite, with the Government of Jamaica owning share in the venture, as we cannot use the Oil, but mainly refine and sell most of it to earn foreign exchange.

The Levy, Taxes and Percentage of Sales of the Oil earned from the investment would enable Jamaica to begin to cut reduce its borrowing relationships, being as it would be a significant source of foreign exchange that would have the potential to eclipse and even surpass bauxite, now in a slump due to lower international demand for aluminum due to the Recession in the United States of America.

Despite this discovery, it is hoped that the Government of Jamaica will keep to their previous utterances by Prime Minister Bruce Golding who stated that if Oil were to be discovered, that the revenue derived from the sale of the Oil on the international market should be placed in an Oil Reserve fund, much as it is done in the People’s Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, then a decision being taken as to what is to be done with the bulk of the money as stated in the article as stated in the article “Golding urges students to look into oil prospects”, published Friday February 23, 2007, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Most likely, most of which would have to go towards Infrastructural Development, the money from the FDI being used as balance of payment for foreign and local debt servicing as per the recommendations of Dr. Omar Davies, Former Minister of Finance.

At the time when current incumbent Bruce Golding made these statements, he was in Opposition and I, John Public, was a Student at the University of the West Indies in the Department of Physics, Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences, hungry as hell while saving up some coins while doing my first Degree in Electronics and Chemistry.

Bruce Golding, then Leader of the Opposition in 2006, came to the University of the West Indies in 2006 and in the process of re-launching the G2K (Generation 2000) in 2006, admonish the students of the University to keep a close eye on the exploration of oil in Jamaica waters.

He challenged us, speaking from his soapbox platform, as I remember, as I was a student of the University of the West Indies at the time and was present when his ominous call was echoed to the students, exhorting us by saying “I am going to challenge you [students] to watch this oil exploration.

We are going to be insisting on it that if it is confirmed that Jamaica has commercial quantities of oil within our territorial waters, we are going to want the benefits of that oil managed in such a way to secure Jamaica's economic future.”

Well, Chief Servant, I, John Public, will be answering the call via my blog postings. It is hoped with the ongoing audits which discovered that Ruth Potopsingh, the Director of the PCJ (Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica) had been defrauding the PCJ and by extension her employer the Government of Jamaica for years as stated in the Prime Time News, aired Tuesday April 20th 2010, on Television Jamaica.

This as auditors are rarely telling tales on the basis of political agenda, that this general housecleaning will also mean a more transparent process in dealing with the Oil Revenue moving forward into the future.

Curiously, this discovery may have been known for months before.  PCJ (Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica) ceded its controlling stake in the State Owned oil Refinery by giving the to the Government of Venezuela an additional 2% increase on their 49% stake in the oil refinery to 51% and hence controlling rights as stated in the article “Venezuelans to the Rescue - 2% deal gives PVDSA affiliate majority ownership”, published Friday April 30 2010, Mark Titus, Business Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner

For the record,  PVDSA (Petroleos de Venezuela SA) is the state run subsidiary that stands to benefit from recent finds of oil and a massive gas field off the coast of Venezuela as stated in the article “Venezuela taps Natural Gas super well”, published Tuesday March 30th2010, The Daily Gleaner (AP), The Jamaica Gleaner.

So the Venezuelans knew?

Also, apparently the Government of Venezuela, Government of the Peoples Republic of China and even the Government of Mexico knew as well. The Government of Mexico declared its intention to construct a US$6 billion dollar Refinery by Mexican Petroleum interest PEMEX (Petroleos Mexicanos) and mysterious hastily commissioned  two (2) week restoration of a 15-foot statue named El Atlante de Tula by Mexican Ambassador to Jamaica, Leonora Rueda as stated in the article “Mexico's new refinery to take shape this year”, published Thursday April 1st 2010, by Nadisha Hunter, Gleaner Writer, The Daily Gleaner, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Then the Greeks upgrade to a land based facility for the storage of MGO (Marine Gas Oil) and MFO (Marine Fuel Oil) as stated in the article “US$20M more to Bunker - Greek firm eyes investment in Jamaican storage facility”, published Wednesday, April 07, 2010 BY CAMILO THAME Business co-ordinator, The Jamaica Observer.

Further suspicions are whetted by the fact that JEP (Jamaica Energy Partners) planned expansion, which appears to be a push into power distribution based on the location of the new plant as stated in the article “JEP lands power deal”, published Friday April 9, 2010, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Guess the Government of Jamaica and the PCJ may have known of this Oil for sure, and in fact chose to make this announcement now to ensure their political future in the upcoming General Election in 2011-2012, meanwhile keeping the Jamaican Public and John Public in the dark and in a heightened state of suspense

Good to note John Public did point out to some ShurPower contractors in 2009 that there was indeed Oil off the South Coast in Pedro Banks, based on my access to Geological information and knowledge of formations of underwater topographical structures that indicate the presence of Oil. These are most likely unchanged for hundreds of years as there is no wind or man-made erosion forces to alter the underwater landscape.

All this by no means says we must abandon our push towards efficiency by using LNG (Liquid Natural Gas).  Already signs are in the making that this will soon occur in short order.

Senator James Robertson, Minister of Energy and Mining has finally realized the fact that either Energy Sector Liberalization or an increase in the efficiency in JPS Co Electricity Generation via the implementation of the use of LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) stated by the JPS Co resulting in a 20% to 30% decrease in the Electricity bills of customers as stated in the article “Government eyes LNG cure for Energy problems”, published Wednesday June 16 2010 by Laura Redpath, Senior Staff Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Private Sector needs to begin its ambitious expansion plans and thus generate growth and employment, growth here being referred to as not only employment but also increased exports and foreign exchange inflows as stated in my blog article “Alternative Energy and LNG - Is Energy Sector Liberalization necessary?.

This possibility has increased thanks in part to its endorsement by none other than Ernest Moniz, Director of the prestigious engineering institute, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) recently in Time Magazine, a prestigious USA publication, who posits the fact that LNG deposits accounts for only 24% of the Electricity Generation within the United States of America, yet they possess 98% of the LNG that they use to generate this 24% electricity demand as stated in the article “Fuel of the future?, published Sunday July 4 2010 by Dwight Bellanfante, Gleaner Writer,  The Jamaica Gleaner

It is therefore my fervent hope that this pans out, as we could all use some financial relief and return our Economy to profitability within the space of seven (7) years. Couple it with the long term investment by Senator Barack Obama, President of the United States of America and his Administration in Silicon Valley, particularly in areas that would result in the lowering of her Energy Bill in terms of Electricity Usage as stated in the article “Obama commits billions to solar firms”, published July 4, 2010 11:34 AM PDT by Reuters, CNET News - Green Tech.

Such as All-Electric Vehicle Research, specifically Battery Development as stated in the article “Obama: Clean energy's Venture Capitalist-in-Chief”, published August 5, 2010, 5:00PM EST By Mike Dorning, POLITICS & POLICY, BusinessWeek and Foreign Based Fossil Fuels as stated in the article “'Green' gas and Diesel get boost in Biofuel grants”, published December 4, 2009 12:33 PM PST by Martin LaMonica, CNET News - Green Tech

The Merchant of Venice, herein represented by the Government of the People’s Republic of China may soon find that a recovered United States of America, which would further boost Jamaica own Economic Recovery Efforts, will be able to repay her the requisite pound of flesh, provided of course that the Government of the People’s Republic of China can do so without spilling a drop of blood…….

Hollywood, would it be possible to have Robert Downey Jr, of Iron Man (2008) fame, play the lead role in the movie Merchant of Venice? More time…………

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